Arts, Culture & Media

Romanian Plea to the British: Why Don't You Come Over?

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Romanian Ad to the British (Image provided by Gandul.info, Romania)

Rumors circulated this week about an advertising campaign warning Romanians and Bulgarians not to move to England.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

"You won't like it here," was the rumored message.

This comes in response to the impending expiration next year of work and travel restrictions imposed on Romanians and Bulgarians.

Now the Romanians have just unveiled their own cheeky ads aimed at Brits. If life is so bad in Britain they quip, "Why don't you come over?"

Anchor, Marco Werman talks with Mihai Gongu, creative director and copywriter at GMP who wrote the Romanian ads.

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Marco Werman: Let me tell you now about another ad campaign that's ruffled feathers this week. The tagline here is "Don't come to Britain." At least that's what the rumored ad campaign would like Romanians and Bulgarians to think. The campaign hasn't gone live yet, it's just one of a slew of possible ideas that the British government is considering to slow immigration from Romania and Bulgaria when travel restrictions are lifted next year. But Romanians are striking back with an ad campaign of their own. Mihai Gongu is a creative director and copywriter at GMP, which produced some cheeky comebacks. Mihai, start by sharing some of the slogans that you've come up with this week.

Mihai Gongu: Yeah, I mean we're trying our hand at British humor and some of the lines were "Charles has bought a house here in Romania" and "Harry has never been photographed naked once," you know.

Werman: That's pretty good.

Gongu: Or for instance, you know, "Our draft beer is less expensive than your bottled water" and so on. So there are a lot of possible arguments why they should conceive to come over to Romania instead because it's--we may not like it in Britain, as they are saying, but we love it in Romania, I can guarantee you.

Werman: And Romania is also bragging in your campaign that you've got millions of women who look like Kate Middleton and even more who look like her sister.

Gongu: Exactly.

Werman: So what's been the reaction in Romania?

Gongu: In the first 24 hours, I think 300,000 Romanians have seen the posters and commented on them, and shared them and so on, so that's quite impressive, I think.

Werman: And you think those strong numbers are a reaction to the rumors of the British ad campaign?

Gongu: Yes, I do. I think our campaign has started to like start a bit of a bush fire and to get the Romanian pride going. And we actually made the online generator where people could make their own poster.

Werman: How did you feel yourself, not as an advertising person, but as a Romanian when you heard about the proposed British campaign and this tagline, "Don't come to Britain?" Was it insulting?

Gongu: I wouldn't say it was insulting. It was you know, a bit inspiring you know. We felt that it's high time that Romanians give a [inaudible 02:07] answer and try to be the fighting partner in this unique war, you know, because typically the way that we are depicted in some of the media in Europe is negative, you know. So we were trying to defend also the decent, honest, hard working Romanians all over Europe who are paying their taxes and doing a decent job, you know?

Werman: So the campaign has gone viral and Romanians have even started posting their own slogans on Facebook. Tell us what some of those are.

Gongu: My favorite was something like if you come over to Romania, in centimeters you'll be taller in kilograms, thinner and so on because you are playing with this conversion.

Werman: I mean it's not like you need to start a campaign. It's gone viral as we said on its own. Is Romania ready to receive all those guys in search of the millions of Kate Middletons you've got there?

Gongu: Yes, and the campaign has just started. And you'll see some nice surprises in the near future, you know? We actually genuinely invite the British to come over here and we can welcome them, no problem. It's a big country, Romania, for all them.

Werman: Yeah, so the Brits are saying stay away, but you're saying that's okay, come visit us instead.

Gongu: Exactly, yeah, exactly. They are saying you won't like it here, their tagline. And the answer was okay, we might not like Britain, but you will love Romania.

Werman: Okay, Mihai Gongu, creative director and copywriter at GMP in Bucharest, Romania. Thank so much.

Gongu: Thank you so much as well.

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